Heroes and villains are both on the move as Wonder Woman 1984 and Candyman have vacated their planned October release dates.
Warner Brothers is moving the release of the Patty Jenkins-directed sequel Wonder Woman 1984 back from its anticipated October 2 opening back to Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate had pulled Nia DaCosta’s Candyman reboot/sequel from its October 16 launch date to an unspecified release next year.
The official announcement of Wonder Woman 1984‘s move today comes on the heels of rumors earlier in the week that the studio was planning on shifting the film to a later date in order to give their current release, Tenet, more breathing room at the box office. Wonder Woman 1984 was originally slated for release last December, but then was moved to this past June to allow more time for post-production. Following the shutdown of movie theaters this past spring when the coronavirus pandemic started, the film’s release date was shifted to its just vacated October 2 date.
While the moves may help both films’ ultimate prospects at the box office, they ironically negatively impact theaters that are currently struggling to reopen by clearing the calendar of any new major releases from now until the November 6 release of Marvel Studios’ Black Widow.
Wonder Woman 1984‘s move places it opening up just one weekend after Warner Brothers’ Dune is still scheduled to premier. In normal times it would be most unusual for a studio to open up two of their own blockbusters within a week of each other.
Warner has expressed confidence that the holiday season has in the past supported more than one blockbuster in such a small time frame. But that presupposes that we will be back to whatever “normal” existed pre-coronavirus, which I honestly don’t see happening. If there is anything we have learned from the last six months or so of dealing this pandemic is that making any plans further than a few weeks is potentially building a house on sand.
But even without covid considerations, keeping Dune and Wonder Woman 1984 so close together seems to be an odd move. Wonder Woman 1984 feels virtually guaranteed to have a strong opening and good box office throughout its run. Dune, while there has been some strong response to the first trailer for the film which dropped earlier this week, is a bit more of a question mark as to how it will do once it opens. If the film were to open somewhat soft in ticket sales but with strong reviews and word of mouth, it could build an audience over several weeks. But that growth could be undercut somewhat if Wonder Woman 1984 opens over Dune‘s second week. To that end, I would not be surprised if we see Warners give Dune the same consideration that it is affording Tenet and move it to a place where it has the chance to breath on its own at the box office. At least’s what I hope that they do.